Sunday, January 22, 2012

The legal mess in EU

I December of last year I wrote a blog stating how UK is fortunate to be out of EU. The British demands demanded special treatment for the city of London that could start an open season on egalitarianism and was a non-starter. One senior Nordic official involved in negotiations said: “When we saw their list, our experts said: ‘They’re not serious. It’s just too much.’ ”

Financial times wrote and article about miscalculations of the British in negotiations with UK. FT has pieced together the evens of the crucial two weeks leading up to the vote in Brussels. This means that not only was the strategy of the British flawed, but so were their tactics.

UK is doubly lucky to be out of the new EU.

The new IMF chief,  Christine Lagarde, (who started after the her predecessor's scandalous rendezvous with a maid in NY hotel, who alleged rape) has recently scared a lot of folks by mentioned similarity of current events with those of Europe in 1930's. A number of commentators found comfort in the fact that the bogeymen of 20th century Europe: communism and nazism are not politically viable leaders. This may prove to be wishful thinking - political extremists could use a mixture of old ideas, or invent something new. Stability founded on public apathy in a rotting political system lasts only until a clear alternative emerges, which draws very sharp contrasts with the existing (moderate) status quo, resulting in a move to one or another extreme. Inability to imagine a specific extreme outcome, offers false comfort of apparent stability.

I have also expressed the view that bonds of three treaties in Europe could also imperil stability. First, all of them take sovereign rights from nations and vesting them in pan-European institutions. These ties have already requires large transfers of wealth from the core of EU to its periphery. Third, these layers of treaties are a potential legal nightmare today, and political nightmare tomorrow.

Furthermore Cameron said: '“Clearly, the institutions of the European Union belong to the union, they belong to the 27.” A “treaty within a treaty” would improperly force the Commission and ECJ into “serving two masters at the same time”.

Sounds reasonable, but this implies nothing less than a scorched-earth tactic. Britain’s rejection of treaty changes means that its 26 EU partners must do without the European institutions.

Herman Van Rompuy, the European Council president who brokered Friday’s deal admitted: "This formula has some handicaps but we will try to overcome them. We will need a large interpretation of the roles of institutions.” What happens when British and French lawyers disagree about this re-interpretations of the roles of EU institutions? Could British enforce their rights?

Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgian prime minister who is the European Parliament’s most outspoken advocate of a United States of Europe, said non-EU treaty would set a dangerous precedent, potentially leading to a splintering of the bloc into subgroups of member states who decide on their own when EU institutions can apply, and threatened to take EU leaders to court if they proceeded with a treaty outside EU strictures. “ It’s not just the UK in or out: it’s mostly about the nature of the union. There are a growing number of countries . . . which will not accept the use of this treaty to execute a coup.”

Meanwhile, the European Commission officials are insisting that the new treaty can rely on EU institutions even if they are not formally included in the new pact. This is a very hypocritical position, consider that the new EU solution was premised on members legal obligation to live within their means. Even if re-interpretation succeeds, allowing the use of EU intuitions by the 26 countries, the precedent undermines credibility in all EU promises, and rules. How can European Commission's authority to enforce the new “fiscal compact” after this? Talk about sawing off the branch you sit upon!

Officials said the treaty was likely to bind all signatories to abide by Commission recommendations on how they should get unbalanced budgets back in line, but this measure that would not formally pull the Commission into the treaty. The promises could be enforced under rules, which regulate bilateral trade relations that have been on the used only 10 times since 1958 treaty of Rome. Let me restate the above, because it's so illogical: enforcement is proposed to come from European commission which is not a part of new treaty, and be enforced by archaic rules which are also no part of either the old or new EU treaties, but predate both. So, recommendations for compliance, and enforcement both is supposed to from institutions outside of EU treaties.

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